British PM says will visit Russia next year

11th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he was accepting an invitation from President Dmitry Medvedev to visit Russia next year after years of frosty relations between the two countries.

"I'm very pleased to take up the invitation of a visit to Russia next year," Cameron said after the two leaders met before a summit of Group of 20 advanced and emerging economies in Seoul.

"We have both agreed we want to strengthen the bilateral relationship."

Speaking through a translator, Medvedev added that he was interested in seeing cooperation with Britain "grow and develop this year" and he wanted to see contacts "at the highest level".

The visit would be Cameron's first to Russia since taking power in May.

Relations between the two countries have been badly strained by issues including the murder of Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, who died after his tea was allegedly laced with radioactive polonium in a London hotel in 2006.

Britain wants Russia to extradite the chief suspect, lawmaker Andrei Lugovoi, but Moscow has refused.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague admitted there were "serious differences" between the countries on his first visit in the job to Russia last month.

© 2010 AFP

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